Kitesurfing, kiteboarding shop & school. Lessons - Durban, PE, J-Bay, Cape Town
Well the water has gotten colder since the last newsletter, the sea temp is still good but for the lagoon I am wearing long 2mm bottoms under a 3mm spring suit, a 1mm neoprene long-sleeved rashie under that and my old long kite pants over all of it to keep the wind chill at bay. For me with all that it’s just another day out in the sun, but for many out there it’s not so pretty. I have never heard so many grown men squealing like and I won’t say girls because I have not heard any of our ladies complaining, maybe because they are sharp enough to wear full suits.
Dustin continues to hurt it
The big clean winter ground swells have been scarce so far this winter, well at least on the north coast. I am sure the banana coast has been getting it as usual. But with that said the south westerly’s have been good to us and it is nice to have winds from that side with small swell. Recently I counted 20 kites out off the lagoon. It was a precious moment for me, being the wave rat that I am. Talking about wave rats, we officially have one more and to say that he has been pushing hard for it, is an understatement. Mr. Bruce Gaynham people, joins the cult, having paid his dues recently in big swell, going strapless. He has been devoted to the surfboard for some time now and finally got his reward. Bruce rode that one wave that takes you from just being out there, to being a surfer. Well done Bruce, cheers to many more like it. (I also suspect that wave he had was at the “Hill” an ex secret spot that Bruce has been understanding. Now just to get some pictures.)
Mongoose claiming the long one
The Mongoose has also come out of hiding and like so many others, he has taken advantage of what the Ozone Reo is all about. The Ozone brand is simplicity and technology in one package, it’s a rare find in kiting, but they have actually done it. I flew their freeride kite the Catalyst the other day, mmm no flies on this one either. Calvin like myself is also moving away from kiteboards and is now riding real genuine surfboards. Why reinvent the wheel. Strapless riding allows for the use of surfboards as the impact from jumping and chop bashing is down to a minimum as you need to ride the water surface to stay on the board. It also means that you don’t break boards because you don’t freestyle on them, you just surf. (But with that said there is a whole new freestyle movement springing up around strapless surfing.) The increased depower in the modern kite also takes away the need to rail the board to death for good upwind. Kites almost pull you upwind these days so the idea of sharp rails for kiting is not needed anymore.
Calvin - unhooked, strapless on a surfboard in winter skins
If you are learning to surf kite I highly recommend you by an all-round board with straps from Kitesports, something like the Accelerator’s or Brunotti’s. A lot of those boards are designed to help you learn. If you are progressing and going strapless then go visit the second hand shops or dedicated surfboard stores and buy up those cheap surfboards that look like they may work. Whatever you do don’t get a custom board made for kiting by a surfboard shaper. In fact never ever mention to a shaper that you intend kiting on a board you may be having shaped, it will end in disappointment. Second hand surfboards are a dime a dozen in KZN, take advantage of it.
Then on to someone who has actually been kiting for longer than me. Respect. This man, a good mate, has been through it all. I met Mike Chamberlain when he was still sand skiing and like most of the sand crew going in the water was always on the cards. At first I thought Mike was not going to make it in the ocean as learning to kite in those days was a north east affair in Durban, not so great, and to add to that the blue bottle element that Mike does not agree with gets out of hand in Durban bay, so you had the odds against you as a kiter in those days and that’s before your C kite got hold of you. LaMercy was not accessible back then. I was however to find out that Mike was a “navy seal” as I like to call it, ask him to show you his bullet holes and one of the most persistent people I now know. I have learnt a lot from him. Oh I forgot to add that he has also dislocated and broken just about every part of his one arm and yet he still kills it. Sorry for my involvement in some of that Mike (kayaking), and thanks for all the adventures so far.
Then on to the new school, Andrew Beenie Larkan . First off he came out with the most appropriate saying I have heard in a while on the BBM chat group which by the way has become an absolute riot. Here are his words, “You have gotto love kiting more than you hate the cold.” Here’s devotion if ever there was. Andrew is getting more and more comfortable with all the aspects of kiting. He now even just zips out to sea every now and again, probably to defrost but he’s doing it and riding some monsters in the process. It won’t be long and we will be seeing popped handle passes from this one. So I am working on mine, it’s a race to see who gets the first Slimchance. If your lounge looked like this would you be classed as dedicated, I think so.
Andrew's lounge courtesy of BBM
but he's not the only one. I know the board so I think I know who's table this is BBM
then my lounge table, for the past 2 months or more...
Andrew Beenie Larkan
It looks like we may have a Kite Association sooner than expected. Follow the drama here: http://www.kitesports.co.za/profiles/blogs/sa-kite-association-meet...
Apparently Rob Crystal has, or is busy, setting up a KZN branch of the association. It’s yet to be confirmed but I think it is a step in the right direction and we should all partake when and if the offer comes around. I have been asked to be the media person for the association, I accepted but asked for a bit more openness and transparency. Eish politics.
I made a big decision to let go of all the secrecy around some of the spots we kite. It’s a surfer mentality thing that you get brought up in but with social media and Google Earth nothing is secret anymore and my experience is that people like to kite at their local more than anything else. It’s also an effort to go adventure although the rewards are well worth it. So with that here is a video of some guys who made the effort and got rewarded. This video has been put out on the site before but we never gave much credit to the spot or the riders. So to the guys who kited there last winter, Bruce Gaynham, Sean Slimchance Chester and Calvin Mongoose Da Silva and then in a later session Marco, well done on riding a treacherous spot and that all before work in the morning. Who said you could not have a dawnie in kiting. The spot is Westbrook , north of Umdloti before Zimbali.
ARTschool is going be launched soon at LaMercy. The details of the “course” / program will be put up on the site. The short and sweet is that it’s an initiative by myself in conjunction with Kitesports to give back into the sport by giving free clincs. The initial focus will be on helping people advance their freestyle riding, which has some spinoffs for people going strapless on surfboards or for those getting into so called wakestyle. There are some requirements that need to be met to partake and you will be able to read about that in the launch blog. Besides a short morning practical-theory chat that you need to listen to a least once to qualify, the clinics will be run very casual and will be about being on the water having fun but in a constructive way. I have spent some time now watching and learning and practically implementing the course as I ride and by chatting to and helping some others, so we are almost ready to roll it out.
Then here is some of the fun we been having at LaMercy
Raymond has very politely laid claim this part of the lagoon, respect
It provides little nooks for handle passing, for throwing some transitions
in the flat water and the most famous, the downwind spray wiggle
Racing is tight in the lagoon
Some video coverage to round it all off and then the closing argument must go to Mongoose.
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